Moviegoers will venture to all kinds of exotic locales this summer, from Jurassic World to the post-apocalyptic Australian Outback, but Neverland is no longer on the itinerary. Just four days after unveiling a new trailer, Warner Bros. has announced that it’s shifting Peter Pan origin tale Pan from the competitive summer season to the fall.
The pic, which stars newcomer Levi Miller as the eponymous Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, was originally set to open July 24th but is now set for October 9th.
Warner Bros. cited the busy summer slate as one reason for the move. Out of all the major studios vying for box office dominance between May and August, Warners will be the most prolific, opening huge titles throughout the summer including Hot Pursuit, Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, Entourage, Max, Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, Vacation, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Me Before You. That amounts to one film almost every other week.
Dan Fellman, the studio’s head of domestic distribution, stated that:
“We wanted to give Pan the space to extend its theatrical run, so taking it out of the cluttered summer season made the most sense. Moving the film to the heart of the fall will allow us more time to screen the picture, enabling us to capitalize on what we anticipate will be strong word of mouth.”
Another reason for the move was provided by director Joe Wright (Hanna, Anna Karenina), who explained that he is still hard at work filling in many of the lush visual effects that bring Neverland to life. He said:
“As you might expect, the fantastical story of Peter Pan involves very complex effects and I did not want to compromise on quality in finishing the film. This allows me and my team the time to complete the movie and tell the story the way it should be told.”
Finally, Pan may experience much more luck at the box office in the fall than it would have in the summer. Marvel’s anticipated Ant-Man and Amy Schumer comedy vehicle Trainwreck are both still set to open July 17th, just a week before Pan, and though many younger audience members may have still opted for the fantasy pic, Ant-Man is aiming at a similar demographic and bears the almighty Marvel brand, making it a serious competitor. Based on strong word-of-mouth, Trainwreck may also usurp the adult crowd.
Simultaneously, Pan would have been directly facing down John Green adaptation Paper Towns, boxing drama Southpaw and family-friendly Adam Sandler pic Pixels. Out of those, Pixels would have been the biggest challenger for Pan, especially with its more mainstream feel and blockbuster trappings.
Now, Pan will open against two drastically different titles: Universal’s Steve Jobs biopic and Halle Berry thriller Kidnap. It should have no issue snagging its target demographic in its new slot.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund and Amanda Seyfried, Pan now soars into theaters October 9th.